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Danny Ainge weighs in on Kyrie Irving’s tumultuous season

Kyrie Irving is among the more enigmatic players in the NBA, and his tumultuous 2018-19 campaign with the Boston Celtics provided ample evidence that he’s deserving of such a characterization.

Danny Ainge seems to have taken all of Irving’s ups and downs in stride, and the Celtics general manger and president of basketball operations weighed in on the superstar’s season with the playoffs set to get underway.

Irving’s outbursts this season have targeted his teammates, the media, even himself. Ainge, however, believes Irving owns such antics by holding himself the most accountable.

“There’s moments where he’s happy and things are going well [and] there’s moments where he’s frustrated and wishes things were different and talks about how can we get better,” Ainge said, via Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix. “But one thing I like about Kyrie is he does want to get better himself. I mean he wants to take responsibility. He wants to carry a load and knows that he is capable, because of his experience and how a good player he is, that he’s capable of carrying a bigger load than a lot of guys on the team.”

Irving’s demeanor this season prompted one NBA analyst to refer to him as “one of the most miserable people” in the world. There has been a lot of speculation this season about what Irving intends to do in free agency — something that conceivably could have contributed to his icy demeanor — though Ainge does not believe that issue inspired the point guard’s conduct this season.

“I don’t think free agency is wearing on him,” Ainge said, instead suggesting “not being able to live up to expectations as a team is wearing on him more than that.”

There has been some chatter that Irving could join forces with one of his pals amid a Boston departure, but how the Celtics, the fourth seed in the East, fare in the postseason may go a long way in determining his future. That said, when asked if the Celtics plan to lock up long term with a new deal, Ainge bluntly stated, “Yes.”